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A Seat in the House

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What are we doing with the former Lakeside Inn?

A person asked me this week if it was true that the Idaho Department of Transportation (ITD) had purchased the Lakeside Inn in Sandpoint and was going to burn the motel and all the furnishings (beds, dressers, desks, etc) inside the office and motel rooms. She had heard this and was wondering why the ITD wouldn’t offer the furnishings for sale, or at least donate them to a non-profit, charitable organization.

ITD has purchased the motel in conjunction with the Sandpoint by-way project and will, in the near future, demolish the motel buildings, although not by burning. More interesting is that the timeliness of the purchase has provided a unique Homeland Security training opportunity that will be taking place at the motel site.

The Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security and Idaho State University’s Institute of Emergency Management are utilizing the motel to provide a “real-world training experience to as many as 600 Idaho first responders.”

Mr. Arthur Dufault, the project manager, provided information on the exercise as well as a pamphlet providing more detailed information. The following is information taken from the pamphlet:

The exercise, identified as “Operation Road Trip” (Readiness Operations and Defense to Train Rural Idaho in Preparedness) will use the 60 -room Lakeside Inn as its base of operations for five weeks of training.

“Before the motel is demolished, ISU’s Institute of Emergency Management will coordinate a five-week, multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional project to help first responders prepare and train for a Chemical Biological Radioactive Nuclear Explosive (CBRNE) mass-casualty incident.

The goals of Operation Road Trip are to: provide training and hands-on exercises to first responders through a cross-disciplinary approach; and to facilitate multi-agency cooperation.”

Each week first responders will be participating in both classroom and hands-on training courses. They will then participate in a series of exercises, some on site at the motel, which will provide realistic feedback to the students. For example, I understand there will be actual fires set in some of the motel rooms for the students to respond to. (This may be where the concern that ITD was going to burn the motel buildings originated.)

The first five weeks will devote training to specific first responder organizations: week one will be a training exercise for law enforcement personnel, week two for EMS personnel, week three for firefighting personnel, week four for HazMat, and the fifth for Urban Search and Rescue.

The training will end in a single scenario that will involve all the agencies participating in a multi-jurisdictional response to a Chemical Biological Radioactive Nuclear Explosive mass-casualty incident and training event based on lessons learned during the first five weeks.

The State Board of Education approved the formation of the Institute of Emergency Management in 2003 to “offer workshops, courses, certificates and eventually degrees to meet the professional and career development needs of Idahoans in Emergency Management.”

At the national level, the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) is providing financial assistance to the states through the FY2003 and FY2004 ODP Homeland Security Grant Program. The Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security (formerly the Bureaus of Disaster Services and Hazardous Materials) has the responsibility of administering the grants and to carry out the mission of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Not only will this exercise provide training for personnel all over the nation, but it also brings an economic benefit to the Sandpoint area. I understand that most of the motels in the area have reservations for personnel taking part in the training and that these participants will be utilizing local restaurants and other services in the area. This will provide a great economic “shot in the arm” for local businesses during the interim between the summer and winter tourist seasons!

I also learned that, with the exception of some of the furniture that will be used in the rooms for the training exercises, the motel furnishings have been offered to several different non-profit charitable organizations in the area. These organizations were on site the week of September 13 selecting furnishings they could use.

Anyone who would like more information on Operation Road Trip can visit the website at www.isu.idu/idiem.

I finish this article with another quote on Democracy: “In free countries, every man is entitled to express his opinions and every other man is entitled not to listen.” (G. Norman Collie)

Thanks for reading and as always feel free to contact me anytime. My home phone is 208-265-0123 and my mailing address is P.O. Box 112, Dover, 83825. George

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Rep. George Eskridge Rep. George Eskridge the Republican Representative for District 1 in Idaho’s House, George Eskridge can be reached at 208-265-0123 or write PO Box 112, Dover, ID 83825

Tagged as:

Idaho, bypass, Idaho Dept of Transportation, first responders, Lakeside Inn

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